It goes without saying that I get excited when I discover one of my favorite musicians is coming to town but to discover two are coming and playing on the same bill, words cannot express my level of giddiness. She Wants Revenge opening for Peter Murphy at The Masquerade on November 14 was a win win for me.
I first heard She Wants Revenge a few years ago when they opened for Physcadelic Furs. I was mesmerized by their sensual sound and stage presence. I have been a huge fan ever since. I could hardly wait to see them live again. The set started of nicely with Written In Blood. The show seemed a little on the quiet side especially when SWR did an almost slow motion version of These Things. The band kicked up with the dancey song Out Of Control but all in all a pretty even keel performance. This led me to believe that She wants Revenge was preparing the crowd for a calm evening with Peter Murphy. I could not have been more wrong. Peter Murphy blew me away and shattered my expectations.
I started my teen years off known as a Death Rocker. Listening to Bauhaus was mandatory for kids like me. Bauhaus was imported to my senses from England where they got their start in 1979. Fronted by Peter Murphy, he sang about artistically about shadows, vampires, masks and all things spooky. Sadly, the band broke up when I was barely old enough to go to concerts. Bauhaus did a reunion tour a few years ago that I was unable to attend ,so my chance of ever seeing them live where slim. I kept up with the creative spin-off Bauhaus Love and Rockets and followed the solo careers of all the members. To be honest, the last Murphy album I listened to was Deep released in 1990 but being so enamored by his early work, I was willing to give his current stylings a whirl.
All I can say is the man did not disappoint. Murphy started the show with All Night Long and played a mix of old and new solo pieces. I was enjoying the show when about two songs in, it hit me, “THIS IS PETER MURPHY!!!!” A man who held legendary status was on stage in front of me! I was really watching and listening to him. He still had all his signature shoulder twitching moves, his voice was still vulnerable on one end and deep from the gallows on the other. The man had not faltered with age one bit. He slinked from one end of the stage to the next making intense eye contact with those lucky enough to be up front. Something that almost never happens to me happened that night, I was star struck. Usually when I go to a show, I photograph the first three songs from a photo pit (no photo passes were to be issued at this show) and I spend the rest of the show standing somewhere towards the back of the room. Not only did I jam myself right in the middle of the crowd, at every possible opportunity, I moved closer and closer to the stage. I longed to be one of the fortunate souls whose eyes he stared straight into. As intense as he was Peter Murphy had a playful side. Teasing some of the fans and then at one point making fun of everyone wearing black and question , “WTF is Goth anyway?” He also revealed his inner Sinatra at times. This eclectic mix of moods and behaviors was quite entertaining.
I had heard rumors that Murphy would not be doing any Bauhaus songs and I decided that was fair enough but I had my fingers crossed. Crossing my fingers must have worked because not only did I get to see him do Silent Hedges and a bloody brilliant acoustic version of Bela Lugosi but he encored the night with Dark Entries and Ziggy Stardust. It was at these times of the show that I would literally clutch my chest and gasp with excitement.
I left the show feeling exhilarated. I felt as if I had just witness something bigger than myself. It was a nice reminder of the power of live performance. This is how you are supposed to feel when you have been lucky enough to witness true passion and art. I immediately went home and purchased two Peter Murphy solo discs. So I say, job well done Mr. Murphy, mission accomplished.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.
Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”
Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.
The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.
What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.
Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.
Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.” The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.
Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.
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